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Friday, 31 May 2013

Carlyle Group Wins Delaware-Forum Fight Over Kuwait Case - Bloomberg

"Carlyle Group LP (CG) won a Delaware Supreme Court ruling that Delaware, not Kuwait, is the proper place to try an investment-contract case with National Industries Group Holding.
The state’s high court yesterday upheld a judgment by Delaware Chancery Court saying the companies were “sophisticated international organizations” and knew what they were doing when they agreed to Delaware courts as a venue for possible disputes.
“Forum selection clauses have become a vital part of interstate and international commercial agreements,” according to the decision. “The parties agreed that the courts of Delaware meet their standards of neutrality and expertise in commercial litigation.”"

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Volume Spikes in Frontier ETFs as Dubai Stocks Surge

"This is not a misprint: On Thursday, the iShares MSCI Frontier 100 ETF (NYSE: FM ) rose almost 1.5 percent to hit a new all-time high on volume that was over 30 times the daily average.

The iShares MSCI Frontier 100 ETF was not the only frontier markets fund that was home to some unusual volume Thursday.

The WisdomTree Middle East Dividend Fund (NASDAQ: GULF ), a more concentrated regional play than FM, also hit a new 52-week high on volume that was nearly double the daily average. There was at least one obvious catalyst behind the volume spikes in FM and GULF: Stocks listed in Dubai raced to a 54-month high Thursday and the trickle-down effect to select ETFs was palpable."

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Thursday, 30 May 2013

Qatar: Abolish Exit Visas for Migrant Workers | Human Rights Watch

" Qatar should immediately abolish its exit visa requirements, which expose migrant workers to the risk of exploitation and abuse. The exit visa system can prevent foreigners from leaving the country merely on the say-so of a current or former employer. The case of a French professional footballer who is unable to leave Qatar illustrates how the exit visa system can be used against migrant workers in disputes with their employers. Zahir Belounis, who played for the Al Jaish team, is pursuing a claim for unpaid wages in the Qatari courts. He told Human Rights Watch that his former employers have insisted that he drop his claim or they will not issue him the exit visa he must produce to leave Qatar.

“The Qatari authorities have set up a system that can effectively allow employers to legally hold their current and former workers to a form of ransom,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “People should be basically free to leave any country. The Qatari authorities already have the power to stop people fleeing to avoid justice, so there is no reason they should give employers the power to keep their employees in Qatar.”"

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Saudi Arabia to develop commercial arbitration | ArabNews

"Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah has allocated around $ 2 billion (SR 7.5 billion) for the development of the Saudi judicial system with special reference to the field of international commercial arbitration, thereby representing one of the leading developments in the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).
Khalid Al-Nowaiser, chairman of the Saudi Commercial Arbitration Committee, made this announcement yesterday at a meeting here of members of his committee with visiting officials from the International Court of Arbitration in Paris.
Jose Ricardo Feris, deputy secretary-general of the International Court of Arbitration at the International Chamber of Commerce (ICA-ICC) in Paris, led the delegation."

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Kuwait's KIPCO takes majority stake in Malta's Fimbank | Reuters

"Kuwait Projects Co (KIPCO) (KPRO.KW), the Gulf state's largest investment firm by assets, acquired a controlling stake in small Maltese trade finance specialist Fimbank FIM.MT through two of its banking subsidiaries.

United Gulf Bank UGBB.BH, KIPCO's Bahrain-based merchant banking unit and Burgan Bank (BURG.KW), the Kuwaiti firm's commercial banking arm, got regulatory approvals to buy a combined 68.7 percent stake in Fimbank, they said in separate press statements on Thursday.

United said it has received the green light from regulators to acquire up to 43.7 percent of Fimbank, while Burgan said it was buying a 25 percent stake."

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Turkey: infrastructure issues | beyondbrics

"Major infrastructure projects in Turkey are seldom less than controversial and the ground breaking ceremony for the third bridge over Istanbul’s Bosphorus straits held this week was guaranteed to spark protests even before the announcement that it was to be named after one of the Ottoman Empire’s less enlightened leaders, Sultan Yavuz Selim, known in the west as “Selim the Grim”.

Critics of the $3bn bridge have long complained that major highways which will be constructed on each side will destroy large areas of unspoiled forest to the north of Istanbul and may even threaten the city’s water supply.

Such criticisms are both justified and a part of the development process but it’s also equally true that the two existing bridges over the Bosphorus were designed to carry only 250,000 vehicles a day but are already handing in excess of 600,000 and cannot be expected to handle the anticipated growth in freight traffic that Turkey’s rapid economic growth continues to generate."

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Gulf states’ football proxy war heats up | beyondbrics

"Real Madrid and Barcelona are known for their annual gladiatorial contest for Spanish football supremacy.

Now the two clubs have become pawns in a proxy war among Middle Eastern airlines for global recognition.

Dubai’s Emirate’s airline on Thursday unveiled a new shirt sponsorship deal with the Galacticos of Real Madrid."

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Dubai Financial Gains Most in 14 Months on IPO Bets: Dubai Mover - Bloomberg

"Dubai Financial Market climbed the most in more than a year as the emirate’s economic recovery spurs investor expectations for initial public offerings on the bourse.
The shares jumped 8.7 percent, the biggest gain since March 2012, to 1.63 dirhams at the close in the emirate, bringing the gain this month to 30 percent. The stock was the most active on the benchmark DFM General Index, which rose 1.2 percent. About 107 million shares were traded, or 5.4 times the three-month daily average.
The bourse’s net income is poised to more than triple in 2013, according to the mean of four analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Dubai’s economy is set to expand by 4.6 percent on average through 2015, according to government forecasts, as it benefits from Dubai’s plans to sell stakes in its companies to the public."

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France blacklists UAE, Lebanon over foreign aid fraud | Finance and Economy |

"France has added Lebanon and the UAE to a blacklist of 17 countries that do not help investigate foreign aid fraud, banning the use of their banks to help distribute development funds, AFP has reported. The blacklist expands on an already-established register of eight "non-cooperative states and territories" that already includes Botswana, Brunei, Nauru, Guatemala and the Philippines. French development ministry said the move was prompted by a lack of transparency in the countries on the list, adding that poor and developing countries were often the main victims of fraud. "The aim is primarily preventative, to put pressure on these countries by publicising this list to progress towards more transparency," they said."

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Kuwait's Burgan gets nod for Malta bank deal - Banking & Finance -

"Burgan Bank said on Thursday it received regulatory approval to buy a 25 percent stake in Malta's Fimbank.
Burgan, the commercial banking arm of Kuwait Projects Co (KIPCO), said in October it was planning to buy the stake in the trade finance specialist for an undisclosed price.
Burgan, which also bought the Turkish arm of EFG Eurobank last year, has received approval from Maltese authorities for the Fimbank purchase, Thursday's statement to the stock exchange said."

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Victorian Parliament hears claims of witness tampering in Dubai fraud case - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

"Claims have been raised in Victoria's Parliament that an Australian executive jailed in Dubai earlier this month was the victim of witness tampering by another Australian development company.

Earlier this month Matthew Joyce was found guilty of fraud and jailed for 10 years over a property deal gone sour in Dubai.

The deal involved the sale of waterfront land in the UAE by the Dubai-based firm Mr Joyce worked for to Gold Coast-based developer Sunland."

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Lloyds to close Dubai private banking business - Banking & Finance -

"Lloyds Banking Group, the lender bailed out by the UK government, is to close its offices in Dubai as part of a $150m deal to sell its international private banking operations to Swiss wealth manager Union Bancaire Privee (UBP).
UBP is buying Lloyds Banking Group's international private banking arm, as the British lender focuses on its domestic market in the UK.
Lloyds, 39 percent-owned by British taxpayers and under pressure from UK lawmakers and regulators to slim down and focus on lending to British households and businesses, said the sale fitted its strategy to simplify its business."

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Abu Dhabi-backed Carlyle buys 49% stake in Chinese malls - Banking & Finance -

"Carlyle Group, the US private-equity firm in which Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Development Company owns a 7.5 percent stake, confirmed it had agreed to buy a 49 percent stake in two Chinese shopping malls, betting on growing consumer demand and expansion of the retail sector in the world's second-largest economy.
Carlyle, through a vehicle advised by its Asia real estate group, bought the stake from shopping mall developer SZITIC Commercial Property Co Ltd as part of a strategic partnership signed between the two companies, it said in an emailed statement.
The malls in second-tier cities Hangzhou and Suzhou have both fashion and electronics stores, with tenants including Starbucks Corp and Wal-Mart Stores Inc."

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Iran, Saudi Arabia both looking to be leader of OPEC -

"Archrivals Saudi Arabia and Iran are expected to battle it out at Friday's OPEC meeting over leadership of the oil cartel at a time when it's facing the grave challenge of the U.S. shale oil boom, an issue that's divided the group.

The gathering in Vienna of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' oil ministers is slated to elect a new secretary-general. That's a largely ceremonial post but it plays a central role in shaping policy for the 11-member oil-exporting group, which has a direct impact on global oil markets.

The issue assumed heightened importance because OPEC faces losing much of its dominance of the global energy market and its ability to influence oil prices because of the shale oil boom that has turned the energy market on its head."

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Iraq at the centre of internal Opec debates -

"As Opec ministers filter into Vienna for the twice-yearly meeting of the oil cartel, most are expecting a meeting of nuance rather than headlines. Barring a last-minute U-turn, Opec is set to keep its official production target unchanged at 30m barrels a day.

But the lack of headlines at Opec masks two internal debates which will shape the organisation for years. First, the response to rising oil production capacity within the cartel. Second, the election of the next secretary-general of the organisation. At the centre of both debates is one country: Iraq."

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Women need more opportunities, IMF official says - The National

"Middle Eastern and North African countries need to reform their civil services and promote women in the labour market, said an IMF official.

"Size and productivity of the public sector need to improve," Nemat Shafik, the deputy managing director of the IMF, said yesterday. "Don't increase the wages too much in the public sector and encourage the private sector to create jobs."

Speaking on the sidelines of the fifth annual Women in Leadership Forum Middle East and Africa in Dubai, Ms Shafik talked about the challenges facing women in Mena and ways regional economies can help women achieve their economic potential."

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UAE credit bureau to bring fall in cost of loans - The National

"The UAE’s new credit bureau expects borrowing costs to fall by more than 30 per cent once its credit reporting system is in full swing.

“According to the statistics compiled from the World Bank and International Financial Corporation, hopefully we will see at least a 30 per cent reduction in a very short time,” said Younis Al Khouri, the bureau’s vice-chairman and undersecretary of the Ministry of Finance.

A hiring spree is under way at the Al Etihad Credit Bureau, which is set to begin efforts to provide data about individual debtors in July."

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Change should not be confined to mindsets |

"The UAE, as many GCC countries, continues to face a dilemma between addressing the labour shortage of qualified UAE nationals and reducing the heavy dependence on expatriate labor. This particular challenge has generally formed a social perception that young UAE nationals (domestic and foreign trained) are neither qualified nor fit to hold leadership roles.
Consequently, young nationals have increasingly been underutilized and disempowered, leading to untapped human capital in the UAE labor market and a future generational challenge.
To contextualize the UAE’s relevance, it is essential to understand its strategic position within the Mena region, home to a population of 310 million and a GDP of $2.4 trillion in 2012. While the GCC represents 26 per cent of the population, it generates 60 per cent of the total GDP."

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Stolen Gulf cash tipped off the FBI |

"When pre-paid RAKBank and the BankMuscatcredit card accounts were duped of $45 million (Dh165.5 million) in December and February by a gang of criminals using forged electronic cards, how it happened seemed pretty clear.
Criminals had hacked into two Indian credit card processing companies — Bengaluru-based ElectraCard Services, which is partially owned by MasterCard, and Pune-based Enstage.
The hackers increased the limits on the pre-paid cards and erased withdrawal limits. Using a $300 card copying machine available on the internet for $300, they simply used everything from hotel key cards to airline loyalty cards to encrypt the inflated financial details on the magnetic strips."

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Qatar trade surplus rises to QR107bn

"Qatar’s trade surplus widened 8% year-on-year (y-o-y) to QR107.03bn in the first quarter of this year with exports growing faster than imports.

The hydrocarbon-abundant county’s total exports (valued free-on-board) swelled 7% to QR129.82bn, according to Qatar Statistics Authority figures.

The exports of domestic products grew 7% to QR128.84bn; while re-exports were down 15% to QR972mn."

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UAE becomes the most competitive Arab country in the world |

"The UAE has jumped eight places to 8th in the latest world competitiveness ranking published by Switzerland-based IMD World Competitiveness Centre on Thursday, from 16th position last year.
The country scored 88.439 to be the top Arab country and the fourth ranking in Europe, Middle East and Africa, and ahead of countries such as China, Japan, Korea, Germany, Netherlands, Denmark, United Kingdom and France – among many other competitive countries.
The country ranked No 1 in Government Efficiency — making the UAE government the most efficient in the world."

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UAE Sheikh in Calgary exploring business opportunities

"A member of one of the ruling royal families in the United Arab Emirates was in Calgary this week speaking to potential businesses setting up “sustainable” companies in the Middle East.

In an exclusive interview with the Herald, Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Ali Al Nuaimi, adviser for environmental strategies for the Ajman emirate and general secretary of the Al Ihsan Charity Association, said potential opportunities are more than just the energy sector including agriculture, water technology, infrastructure, energy, power and utilities, health, education, culture and arts.

Known around the world as the Green Sheikh, he is an environmental campaigner and in his work with the charity association he is the Goodwill Ambassador for many sustainable projects."

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New UAE Companies Law offers nothing to foreign investors but is that such a bad thing? « ArabianMoney

"Foreign investors hoping that the new UAE Companies Law would allow them to own more than 50 per cent of non-freezone companies will be very disappointed by the new law that was finally passed yesterday by the Federal National Council after 10 years of deliberation.

Perhaps not so surprisingly the FNC has voted to protect the existing interests of UAE citizens rather than expand the rights of foreigners to own UAE companies. It was always open to debate whether the gain to the former would compensate for the loss of control through wider foreign ownership, and nobody can deny that a long debate took place."

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Wednesday, 29 May 2013

IFA receives buyout offer from Kuwait’s KSCC | Transport & Tourism | BDlive

"JSE-listed IFA Hotels & Resorts on Wednesday said it had received a firm intention from Kuwait-based IFA Hotels & Resorts KSCC to acquire the issued ordinary shares in the capital of IFA Hotels & Resorts it did not already own.

IFA Hotels and Resorts, based on the north coast of KwaZulu-Natal, is a subsidiary of IFA Hotels & Resorts KSCC — which holds 85% of its shares. The acquisition would result in the delisting of IFA Hotels & Resorts from the main board of the JSE.

“The intention is to convert IFA to a private company, subject to the provisions of the Companies Act, subsequent to the implementation of the delisting,” the company said. The offer would be implemented through a scheme of arrangement between IFA Hotels & Resorts and shareholders."

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Dilapidation, decay and despair in Iran’s economic heartland -

"The remote industrial complex of Lia boasts one of the larger concentrations of factories in Iran’s northwest – not that you would know it if you visited on a working day.
While Lia is home to hundreds of small businesses and thousands of workers, traffic is slow and there are few workers on the streets. It is a sign, businessmen say, of how much domestic industry has suffered in recent years, hit hard not just by international sanctions but by the populist policies of Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad, the out­going president."

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FACTBOX - Developments in women's rights in Saudi Arabia

Women walk past an empty coffee shop during summer, with temperatures rising above 42 degrees Celsius (108 degrees Fahrenheit) in Riyadh July 12, 2007. REUTERS/Ali Jarekji
"Saudi Arabia, which is considered one of the most conservative countries in the world, especially in regards to women’s rights, has in recent months taken some steps to grant its women more freedoms.

 Here is a look at the latest developments in women’s rights in the kingdom.

   * POLITICS- In February, King Abdullah swore in the country's first female members of the Shura Council, an appointed body that advises on new laws, in a move that has riled conservative clerics in the Islamic monarchy."

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Saudi Arabia: Spending power -

Cash flows: shopaholics are one of the more visible signs of a boom
"Women in traditional black abayas huddle at an entrance to the Granada Centre in north Riyadh; not even torrential rain can deter them from the “shopping extravaganza” promised within.
It is shutters-up time on a midweek evening and the crowd is swelling, eager to sample the mall’s myriad consumer goods stores, including seven lingerie shops and 22 jewellery and watch outlets.
“If you go out after 8.30 now, you see these hordes,” marvels one long-time Saudi resident of a ritual repeated nightly across the country’s desert capital. “It’s amazing what’s happening. They buy everything.”"

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MIDEAST STOCKS-Bluechips lift Qatar to new 28-mth high; most Gulf mkts up | Reuters

"Qatar's bluechips helped lift the bourse to a new 28-month high on Wednesday, while most other Gulf markets also gained.

Doha's index climbed 1 percent to its highest close since January 2011. The market is up 9.6 percent in 2013, underperforming other regional bourses.

"Qatar has been lagging the region and a catch up play is in order," said Ahmed Shehada, head of trading at Qatar National Bank Financial Services."

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Best OPEC Discipline Since 2011 No Proof for $100 Oil - Bloomberg

"OPEC’s best adherence to its production ceiling in 18 months is failing to buoy the outlook for crude oil prices, raising pressure on the group to pare supplies amid burgeoning U.S. output.
While all but one of 20 analysts in a Bloomberg survey predict the 12-member organization will maintain its target of 30 million barrels a day at its May 31 meeting in Vienna, most say OPEC needs to conform better with the limit to keep supply from overwhelming demand. Societe Generale SA says the necessary reduction could be “substantial.” The Centre for Global Energy Studies says prices may tumble without output curbs."

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The Decline of the Middle Class -

"More than two years have passed since the start of the so-called "Arab Spring" in Tunisia. What began as a fight for social justice became an ideological tug-of-war between Islamists and secular forces. But while the elite engage in theoretical debate, the economic crisis deepens. Katharina Pfannkuch reports

It's the same story once every four weeks: when the middle of the month rolls around, there is virtually nothing left of Kais' income. "I don't lead a posh life; I rarely eat out," says Kais, an electronic engineer, "I just go out for a beer with my friends once a week." Kais spends his money on everyday things such as food, rent, and electricity. The 29-year-old Tunisian studied in Germany and is one of the country's many highly qualified young people who fought with hope and enthusiasm for a new Tunisia two years ago."

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Overtime in the UAE: how it works - Business Intelligence Middle East - - News, analysis, reports

"The nature of many jobs often requires an employee to work over time. Whether or not an employee will be entitled to overtime (as well as the applicable rate) under Federal Law No 8 of 1980 on the Regulation of Labour Relations (as amended) (UAE Labour Law) is often an intricate issue, and depends on the role of the employee, the time the overtime is completed and the working time system the company has in place.

Normal working hours
Under the UAE Labour Law, an employee's normal working day should not exceed 8 hours. An employer is also able to request an employee to perform up to 2 hours of additional work which will be treated as overtime. In return for working the additional 2 hours, the employee is entitled to overtime pay equivalent to the wage paid during ordinary working hours plus an additional amount of not less than 25% of the total remuneration (i.e. basic salary plus allowances) for the overtime period."

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End of service gratuity in the UAE: a recap - Business Intelligence Middle East - - News, analysis, reports

"End of service gratuity (Gratuity) is a key benefit for non-national employees working in each of the GCC countries.

Both Federal Law No 8 of 1980 on the Regulation of Labour Relations (as amended) (UAE Labour Law) and DIFC Law No 4 of 2005 (as amended by DIFC Law No. 3 of 2012) (DIFC Employment Law) set out a formula for calculating Gratuity and contain specific provisions providing for reduction of the entitlement in certain circumstances.

However, how to calculate Gratuity and what rate of accrual should be adopted is often not clear cut. Here, we examine some of the more intricate factors."

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S&P Raises Saudi Arabia Outlook to Positive - Bloomberg

"Saudi Arabia’s credit rating outlook was raised to “positive” from “stable” by Standard & Poor’s because of an improved outlook for growth in the Arab world’s biggest economy.
Saudi Arabia’s AA- rating, the fourth-highest investment grade, may be raised in the next 24 months if economic growth “remains strong,” the rating company said in a statement. It was the first change in the country’s outlook by S&P since 2007.
“Growth fundamentals are strengthening in Saudi Arabia,” the rating company said in a statement. “The economy has expanded strongly and steadily.”"

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Deyaar Gains Most in 3 Weeks on $46 Million Sales: Dubai Mover - Bloomberg

"Deyaar Development PJSC (DEYAAR) headed for the biggest gain in three weeks after the Dubai-based builder of residential and commercial property sold real estate valued at 170 million dirhams ($46 million).
The shares climbed 3.4 percent, set for the biggest advance since May 9, to 42.4 fils at 1:36 p.m. in Dubai. The stock was the second-most active on Dubai’s benchmark index, after Arabtec Holding Co. (ARTC), with about 113 million shares traded, or four times the three-month daily average. Arabtec, a construction company, jumped 7.2 percent and Dubai’s benchmark DFM General Index (DFMGI) rose 0.8 percent.
Dubai, home to the world’s tallest tower, is embarking on new developments including a district that includes the world’s biggest shopping mall and a complex of five theme parks. The emirate’s real-estate market is rebounding after property prices plunged at the onset of the global credit crisis in 2008. The recovery helped Deyaar more than double profit in the first quarter. The company reported a 2.9 billion-dirham loss in 2010."

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Dubai Firms Target Arab Spring Economies on Spending - Bloomberg

"Abraaj Group, the Dubai-based private equity firm with $7.5 billion in assets, is among Gulf investors targeting acquisitions in North Africa as a surging population boosts demand for products from health care to food and banking.
Abraaj plans to raise as much as $250 million for a second North Africa fund after fully investing its first, Ahmed Badreldin, the firm’s head of the Middle East and North Africa, said in an interview. Majid Al Futtaim Holding LLC, a Dubai-based owner and operator of malls and hypermarkets, is buying the Metro supermarket chain in Egypt and is also building a mall outside Cairo, Chief Executive Officer Iyad Malas said."

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Investors making more on real estate and stocks in Dubai than anywhere else in the world « ArabianMoney

"Dubai is a city that likes to be the biggest and best and indeed the Guiness Book of Records has opened an office here. And currently investors are making more on real estate and stocks in Dubai than anywhere else in the world, as the only independent investment newsletter for the region published by ArabianMoney reveals this month (subscribe here).

ArabianMoney editor and publisher Peter Cooper goes onto the floor of the Dubai Financial Market in the latest issue to swap stories with veteran broker Mohammed Ali Yasin, managing director of the National Bank of Abu Dhabi’s brokerage arm Abu Dhabi Financial Services."

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SEDCO Capital Global Funds (SCGF) offers the latest innovations by applying, for the first time, an ESG filter on its Shariah-compliant investment funds - Zawya

" SEDCO Capital Global Funds (SCGF), the Luxembourg based asset manager and leading provider of Shariah compliant investment solutions, today announces the first ever Shariah-compliant funds managed according to environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles.

The SEDCO Capital US Equities Fundamental Indexing® Fund and SEDCO Capital Global Higher Dividend Yield Fund are screened for compliance with international conventions and guidelines on environment, human rights and business ethics such as UN Global Compact, OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, ILO Core LaborConventions, Environmental Conventions and Weapons-related Conventions. Non-compliance is dealt with through a process of engagement and exclusion. The funds will also incorporate proxy voting according to best corporate governance standards in its ESG programme."

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Saudi Arabia’s Naimi Says Crude Oil Market in Best Situation (2) - Businessweek

"Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest crude exporter, is content with current conditions in the oil market, the kingdom’s petroleum minister said three days before OPEC members meet to assess the group’s output policy.

“This is the best environment for the market,” Ali al-Naimi told reporters today in Vienna when asked about the balance of supply and demand. “Demand is great,” al-Naimi said as he arrived at his hotel.

The 12-member Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will review its collective production target on May 31 at the group’s headquarters in the Austrian capital. OPEC, which supplies about 40 percent of the world’s oil, kept its official output ceiling unchanged at 30 million barrels a day the last time it met, in December."

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Qatar BoP swings to $16bn surplus in 2012: QNB

"Qatar’s overall balance of payments have swung to a $16bn surplus in 2012 from a $14bn deficit in 2011, which reflects changes in the country’s international reserves, the Qatar National Bank (QNB) said in a report.

The 2011 deficit was mainly due to large capital outflows for investment abroad and occurred despite the rapid expansion in exports revenue, which had almost doubled since 2008 driven by higher hydrocarbon prices and increased production of gas and related products.

“We expect the overall surplus to shrink slightly in 2013- 14, mainly owing to slightly lower hydrocarbon prices resulting in a lower current-account surplus,” QNB said in its Qatar Economic Insight 2013."

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Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Palestinian Stock Exchange Lacks Public Regulation - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East

"Any modern state should seek to establish a modern stock exchange to buy and sell various types of stocks and attract foreign and domestic investment, including small-scale traders, because doing so boosts the economy. Stock markets have become indicators that are followed by economic and financial-policy makers.

Stock markets are tools for investment and development, but they can also play a role in financial crises, as happened in east Asia in 1997, when the economies of Thailand, Indonesia and others collapsed overnight. For this reason, stock markets are usually highly regulated and governments can sometimes directly intervene in them, as happened in Egypt after the revolution."

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Ma'aden-Alcoa Joint Venture Completes Saudi Arabia's First Engineered Wetlands System to Treat Two M - DailyFinance

"RIYADH, Saudi Arabia & NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Alcoa (NYS: AA) and The Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma'aden) today announced completion of a first-of-its-kind engineered wetlands wastewater management system in Saudi Arabia at the Ma'aden-Alcoa joint venture project site. The newly constructed system will reduce water demand by nearly two million US gallons (7.5 million litres) per day and save more than US$7million (SAR 26 million) annually that would otherwise be used to purchase fresh water.

The Alcoa-designed and engineered technology - known as a Natural Engineered Wastewater Treatment system - collects sanitary and industrial wastewater and then cleans and disinfects the water without the use of chemicals or the creation of water discharge and odors associated with conventional tank systems. The water will then be reused in the manufacturing process and for irrigation at the Ma'aden-Alcoa aluminum complex at Ras Al Khair. The complex includes a refinery, smelter and rolling mill."

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Exclusive: Qatar central bank governor sees time when dollar peg may be changed | Reuters

"Qatar may change its peg to the U.S. dollar when the economy becomes less dependent on hydrocarbons and local financial markets deepen, although no changes are currently being considered, its central bank chief said.

Asked by Reuters which economic conditions needed to be met for Qatar to consider changing its currency regime, Central Bank Governor Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud al-Thani said:

"With increasing integration in international trade, services, and asset markets, a higher degree of exchange rate flexibility may become more desirable to ensure external stability and international competitiveness of our exports."

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Dubai Chronicle UAE Central Bank Postpones Direct Debit System

"The adoption of a direct debit system from accounts of consumers will be deferred with two months. That was announced by UAE Central Bank in a circular to the country’s banks.
Initially, the implementation of the system was planned to take place in mid-June. However, now it is moved to mid-August. In that way CB wants to provide more time to banks in the United Arab Emirates to cope with the various problems that have to do with the system. These issues were brought up by the banks that operate in the country via the UAE Banks Federation.
Currently UAE Central Bank is organizing different workshops and meetings with nominees and directors of systems and information from every bank in the United Arab Emirates. Through them, CB wants to update and inform banks on the all the essential things about the system. In addition, they are trying to also highlight its significance."

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Tabreed Climbs to 14-Month High on Property Revival: Dubai Mover - Bloomberg

"National Central Cooling Co. (TABREED) soared to the highest level in more than a year on investor optimism the supplier of air-conditioning systems is benefiting from a construction recovery in the United Arab Emirates.
The shares rose 5.2 percent to 1.82 dirhams, the highest close since March 2012. The stock was the second most active after Dubai Financial Market on Dubai’s benchmark index with about 81 million shares traded, or 5.8 times the three-month daily average. Dubai’s DFM General Index increased 0.7 percent.
Dubai is likely to add at least 11,200 rooms by 2015 as hotels such as Sofitel Palm Jumeirah, Anantara Royal Amwaj and Oberoi Business Bay are completed, broker Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. said last month. Saudi Arabia is pursuing more than $500 billion of investments to build infrastructure and industry, and create jobs for youth. Tabreed said April 30 one new cooling plant came online in the kingdom."

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BGCC200 Quote - Bloomberg GCC 200 Index - Bloomberg


63.040.25 0.40%
As of 09:00:00 ET on 05/28/2013.
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Snapshot for Bloomberg GCC 200 Index (BGCC200)

Open:62.79Day Range:62.75 - 63.05Year To Date:+14.37%
Previous Close:62.7952-Week Range:54.60 - 63.051-Year:+15.75%

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May 27
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